By Adrian Galbreth
New drug research may pave the way for more effective treatments of age-related macular degeneration - the leading cause of blindness in the western world.
Those are the claims being made by researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine, who say that a protein known as galectin-3 promotes the growth of new blood vessels, and that targeting the protein can "significantly reduce" angiogenesis.
The findings have been published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine and may lead to treatments for diseases caused by excessive angiogenesis, which include AMD, said Dr Noorjahan Panjwani, who led the project.
She explained: "Our study shows that galectin-3 protein binds to glycans of specific cell-adhesion proteins to activate the signaling pathways that bring about angiogenesis. This improved understanding may provide a more targeted approach to preventing harmful angiogenesis."
Meanwhile, another team of researchers at Tufts have found that that non-viral gene therapy can delay the onset of some forms of eye disease and offer hope to retinal degeneration sufferers.
by Alexa Kaczka